Workers Party leaders have joined politicians and heads of state from around the world in calling on the British government to halt the farcical extradition proceedings of Julian Assange and set him free.
A remarkable international letter was been signed on 21 September by 161 heads of state, former heads of state, ministers, parliamentarians and diplomats urging the UK government to halt Julian Assange’s extradition proceedings and to grant his immediate release from Belmarsh prison in London, where he has been held in solitary confinement by British authorities without legal grounds since April 2019.
The final three weeks of Julian’s extradition hearing began on 7 September 2020 at the Old Bailey. He is charged by the Trump government with publishing the Afghan and Iraq war logs – that is, of helping to expose American war crimes – for which he could face 175 years in jail.
Mr Assange’s lawyers have experienced huge problems communicating with their client. According to Edward Fitzgerald QC: “We’ve had great difficulties in getting into Belmarsh to take instructions from Mr Assange and to discuss the evidence with him. We simply cannot get in as we require to see Mr Assange and to take his instruction.”
The signatories to the international letter include Alberto Fernández, president of Argentina (2019-), Dilma Rousseff, former president of Brazil (2011-16), Evo Morales Ayma, former president of Bolivia (2006-19), Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former president of Brazil (2003-10), Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador (2007-17), José Luis Zapatero, former prime minister of Spain (2004-11), Jeremy Corbyn, former leader of Labour party (2015-20), Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Nobel prize laureate, members of the European parliament, and other parliamentarians worldwide.
Workers Party of Britain leader George Galloway and deputy leader Joti Brar have also signed the letter.
The unprecedented appeal to the British government by the international political community endorses the legal opinion given by international legal experts in an open letter on 18 August.
That letter expressed grave concerns about the political prosecution of Mr Assange, the flagrant violation of his fundamental rights, the violation of domestic and international law by Britain, and the illegality of the Trump administration’s prosecution – in particular, the attempt to extend the reach of the US’s legal system beyond its own territory.
Coming on top of that legal opinion, the most recent international letter shows the growing understanding across the legal and political spectrum that the potential extradition of Mr Assange by the UK to the USA would set a precedent that violates historical international agreements and human rights.
It would give the green light to political prosecutions, to the criminalisation of investigative journalism as espionage; and it would affirm the worldwide jurisdiction of the United States as well as the right to absolute secrecy of states in regard to war crimes, state torture and corruption.
The full open letter with legal opinion is available to read in seven languages. The full list of signatories and political endorsements can also be seen on the Lawyers for Assange website.